Walter Peiser Elected President of Southwest Jewish Chautauqua Assembly

The seventh annual convention of the Southwest assembly of the Jewish Chautauqua Society concluded its four day session here with the election of Rabbi Walter Peiser of Baton Rouge, La., as president. More than 150 rabbis and Jewish educators of this section took part in the discussions which entered on the need of preserving Jewish religious customs and teaching, in the home and in the parochial school.

Other officers elected were William Nathan, Houston, Tex., first vice-president; Rabbi Ira Sanders, Little Rock, Ark., second vice-president; Miss M. Stilling of Houston, secretary and Erhard Mayer of New Orleans, treasurer. Dallas, Texas was chosen as next year’s meeting place.

Following the official close of the convention it was decided to establish a summer course for religious school teachers in this district. Rabbis Emil Leipziger, Louis Binstock and Mendel Silber of New Orleans were named on a committee to draw up plans to this end. A page in the Jewish Ledger of this city will be set aside for an interchange of ideas among religious schools and rabbis of the Assembly, the executive committee voted.

Rabbi James G. Heller of Cincinnati sounded the keynote of the convention when in an address he termed Jewish education a failure. “Parents believe that religious education is less important than music, elocution or dancing lessons,” he declared. “Public school parents realize that the public schools supply a need that is real and clearly felt, while Jewish parents have little sense of the reality of the religious schools’ educational value.”

Further deploring the Jewish children’s lack of knowledge concerning their religion and race, Mrs. Lee Levinger of Columbus, Ohio, urged that dramatics and music in the Sabbath school be introduced to visualize more clearly for smaller children the history of the Jews. Rabbi Louis Wolsey of Philadelphia decried the modern tendency of supplanting religion with science.

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